Santa Clara County Voter's Guide On Children's Issues

Campbell Union High School District, Area 4

Basil Saleh

http://www.basilsaleh.com

Everyone deserves an advocate, and that's why I am running, because I know students succeed academically when we meet their needs and elevate their voices in a way that is representative of them.

  1. Taking into consideration the profound impact of COVID-19 and the expanded movement for racial justice and equity, what do you think are the top three issues affecting our children and families and how do you propose to address them?

    CUHSD’s website documents that students with disabilities and students who identify as African-American and/or English-learners achieve far lower academic outcomes, disproportionate suspensions, and lower rates of college and career preparation than their peers. The pandemic exacerbates these disparities making it imperative we factor equity into our future plans and allocations. I'll ensure our district serves all its students and that those disproportionately affected before, during, and post-pandemic will not be overlooked.
    We must,
    • utilize state grants for comprehensive, multicultural, in-house mental health & wellness, available remotely 24/7,
    • eliminate disparities that minority students and families experience, and realize the full potential of an ethnic studies framework for improving experiences and outcomes,
    • and dismantle the school-prison pipeline and protect students from carceral violence with expanded college and career counseling, academic support, and mentorship.

  2. How will the priorities you addressed in the first question be reflected in the way that you approach the budget process?

    I want to create policy that allows CUHSD the eligibility to utilize state grants that fund multicultural in-house mental health & wellness infrastructure, available remotely 24/7.
    I’ll push to have staff and resources to realize the full potential of an ethnic studies framework to improve the student experience and outcome—training for this curriculum can come from state and county grants.
    I’ll advocate for more college and career counselors to help students access opportunities, graduate, and move into well-paying jobs and/or college—here, strategic partnerships can provide resources for us to operate unencumbered by budget shortages. Nonprofits, unions, and employers can be our partners.

  3. What steps will you take to address the high cost and lack of availability of quality child care and preschool programs in our communities, especially for low-income children and English language learners?

    Childcare is an equity issue. It is essential to the financial stability of households and why my colleagues in leadership and I formed a coalition that supports the creation of a universal childcare policy.
    Our goal is to ensure that recently unemployed people and struggling essential workers receive services catered to their family needs. The economic disparities in San Jose’s predominantly Latino and Vietnamese communities, all of which predate the pandemic, motivate our coalition’s urgency in appealing to all levels of local government. Universal childcare can help us secure key partnerships between private employers, public agencies, labor groups, child advocates, and school districts.

  4. What steps will you take to improve inclusion and outcomes for children with special needs or with disabilities?

    Students struggling to adapt to online learning could lose opportunities under the district’s current plan. I want to counter this with flexibility and academic support for students with learning differences and disabilities. I’ll give teachers, particularly Special Ed., a voice and the collaborative support that's missing so classroom instruction can receive feedback and improve. I'll also direct administration to conduct regular meetings with Special Ed. teachers to make sure we know the resources and support that's needed in their classrooms. And I'll set a goal for our district to have integrated classrooms within four years while finding funding for instructional aides so this is possible.

  5. Much of the student achievement gap has been linked to the "opportunity gap" that low-income children and children of color experience, including lack of access to healthy food, preschool, tutors and enrichment activities. If elected, what steps will you take to address this issue?

    I will make sure our schools serve as resource coordinators, not only offering resources, but actively connecting students to them. This allows us to more effectively make use of county, city, and nonprofit programs - gives us room to administer more services in our budget, and actually aids in restorative justice and in ensuring every student has a safe, stable, caring experience - this leaves schools equipped to succeed in Silicon Valley.